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EMR Literature Survey - February 2016

Use of mobile and cordless phones and cognition in Australian primary school children: a prospective cohort study

By: Redmayne M, Smith CL, Benke G, Croft RJ, Dalecki A, Dimitriadis C, Kaufman J, Macleod S, Sim MR, Wolfe R, Abramson MJ
Published in: Environ Health 2016; 15 (1): 26


This Australian cohort study investigated whether there is an association between wireless phone use and cognitive function in children. The cohort included a total of 619 children aged 8-11 years from schools in Melbourne and Wollongong. Information on mobile and cordless phone use was obtained via questionnaires and the children were tested for cognitive function. Overall, there was no support of an association between wireless phones use and cognitive function in primary school-aged children.


Commentary by ARPANSA

This paper reported the results that were obtained at the start of the cohort study (baseline), which will be compared to the results obtained at a later time (after a period of follow-up).

As commented on January 2016’s report, studies investigating cognitive effects of mobile phone use on children have yielded inconsistent results so far.

Obtaining information via questionnaires can produce information bias. In this study by Redmayne et al, it was interesting to note that many children reported themselves as using a mobile phone whereas the parents reported that they were not using it.

Another interesting finding was that there was a significant difference in the reaction time (which is a measured parameter of cognitive function) on one of the tasks between girls and boys (gender effects), which may warrant further investigation.

Calcium homeostasis and low-frequency magnetic and electric field exposure: A systematic review and meta-analysis of in vitro studies

By: Golbach LA et al
Published in: Environ Int 2016: in press


This paper described the results of a systematic review and meta-analysis of in vitro studies that investigated the association between extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (MF) and calcium homeostasis (which is an indicator of efficient signalling between cells in the body). The systematic review, which included a total of 42 studies, showed evidence of an association. The meta-analysis revealed that there was a statistically significant effect of ELF MF exposure on both the frequency of calcium oscillations and intracellular calcium levels. Although the results supported an association between ELF MF exposure and calcium homeostasis, the authors noted that high heterogeneity in the different studies weakened the findings.


Dispositional aspects of body focus and idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF)

By: Domotor Z et al
Published in: Scand J Psychol 2016: in press


This is a human provocation study that investigated whether electromagnetic fields (EMF) exposure is associated with adverse health symptoms. A total of 72 people (36 claiming to have electromagnetic hypersensitivity, EHS, and 36 controls) were given sham exposure to an MF source (the participants were blinded to the exposure). Anxiety, EMF-related worries, and other subjective symptoms were assessed via questionnaires. People who claimed to have EHS reported more symptoms and had higher levels of anxiety than the controls. The authors suggested that somatosensory amplification is the biggest contributor to EHS.


Effects of radiation from a radiofrequency identification (RFID) microchip on human cancer cells

By: Lai HC et al
Published in: Int J Radiat Biol 2016: 1 - 6


This is an in vitro study that investigated whether radiofrequency (RF) exposure has any effects on cancer cells. Three types of human cancer cells (leukaemia, breast cancer, and hepatic cancer cells) were exposed to RF via the RF identification (RFID) microchip technology. The exposure was at a frequency of 134.2 kilohertz (kHz) and no exposure level was indicated. Four experiment settings were compared which involved all possible combinations of inactive/active activator (where the signal is generated) and with/without microchip. The authors found that the RF exposure emanating from the active microchip slowed down the growth of cancer cells.


Effects of Wi-Fi (2.45 GHz) Exposure on Apoptosis, Sperm Parameters and Testicular Histomorphometry in Rats: A Time Course Study

By: Shokri S et al
Published in: Cell J 2015; 17 (2): 322 - 331


This is an animal study that investigated whether RF exposure from Wi-Fi causes any effects on male reproduction. A total of 27 rats were divided into three groups: 1 group not-exposed and 2 groups exposed to either 1 or 7 hours per day for 2 months. The exposure was at a frequency of 2.45 gigahertz (GHz) and the exposure level was not quantified. The authors found that RF exposure induced a decline in male fertility.


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